Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who went to prison for participating in a gambling scandal, is finally out of the slammer and off probation -- and he's wasting no time with his new-found freedom.
After publishing a memoir of his refereeing career and the events that forever sullied his name, Donaghy has even more revelations in a fascinating feature by Pat Jordan in New York Magazine.
Few of them are flattering.
The most striking pieces of information is that Donaghy joined a white power gang in prison to protect himself from attack by other prisoners. Joining the gang became necessary after he had ratted on other prisoners for gambling, which was against the rules.
Now out of prison and off probation, Donaghy is hoping to clean up his image. He says he's a good Catholic boy who loves his four daughters. He runs a betting advice website, RefPicks.com, that recommends bets based not on the teams playing, but the refs involved in the game, and how those refs are likely to influence the outcome.
His ex-wife offers a different side of things. She insists he is obsessed with money -- that Donaghy only cares about growing his wealth and finding ways to keep it. She alleges he tried to get her to sign an agreement in which he would pay $100 a week for child support -- to cover the costs of raising four children.
Indeed, when Jordan tries to jot down the income figure in his notes during the interview, Donaghy intervenes. "Don't write that," he says. "My ex-wife and the IRS will come after me."
Donaghy is also embroiled in a lawsuit to recoup the earnings of his refereeing memoir, which he claims were stolen by the publisher. The publisher's response? The book wasn't profitable, and what earnings Donaghy did make were sent to the U.S. attorney's office to cover restitution. But Donaghy sued and won in court, although he hasn't collected any of the $1.5 million that the jury awarded him because the publisher is now bankrupt.
So yes, Donaghy does sound like a money-hungry sociopath bent on wealth accumulation. But the premise of his very successful handicapping service does prove he at least knows something about the NBA game -- and how referees are influencing the results, whether they're involved on the gambling side or not.